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2021 Agenda & Speaker Bios


Early Literacy Screening
The Role of Early Identification and Its Implication for School-Based Interventions

Download the Symposium Agenda

2021 Symposium Videos

Thank you for your interest in AIM Institute's 2021 Research to Practice Symposium on Early Literacy Screening. If you did not register for the symposium, you may register below to access the on-demand Video Recordings and session handouts from the March 15th Symposium.

Symposium Speakers


Moderator and Hollis Scarborough Award Recipient:

Dr. Donald Compton

Dr. Don Compton

Biography: Dr. Donald Compton is a Professor of Psychology and Education at Florida State University and former Director of the Florida Center for Reading Research. He earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University's School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, with a specialization in learning disabilities. His research involves modeling individual differences in the development of children’s reading skills and the identification and treatment of children with reading disabilities. 


Dr. Hugh W. Catts

Prevention Through Early Identification and Intervention

This session begins with a discussion of how best to define and operationalize dyslexia in educational settings. Dr. Catts will introduce a preventive model that could potentially eliminate or reduce the negative consequences associated with dyslexia. This model relies on the early identification of risk factors associated with reading disabilities and related language disorders, and the need for early intervention to reduce their impact. A risk and resilience model will be presented and its implications for early identification, screening, and intervention considered.

Dr. Hugh Catts Image

Biography: Dr. Hugh W. Catts is a Professor and Director of the School of Communication Science and Disorders at Florida State University. He is a past board member of the International Dyslexia Association and past board member and President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading. He has received the Samuel T. Orton Award from the International Dyslexia Association and the Honors of the Association from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for his career contributions in each of these disciplines. His current research concerns the early identification and prevention of reading and language disabilities and the nature and assessment of reading comprehension problems.


Fumiko Hoeft, MD, Ph.D.

The Science of Early Identification

This session explores the importance of early identification and intervention from the societal and scientific perspective. Dr. Hoeft will also discuss the science behind each category of measures such as reading-related measures, cognitive measures, family history information, and other measures that may be less scientifically validated but warrants more research. 

Dr. Fumiko Hoeft

Biography: Dr. Fumiko Hoeft is a Professor of Psychological Sciences, Mathematics, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience, at the University of Connecticut (UConn), and of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She is also Director of UConn’s Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC); and Co-Founder of the Haskins Global Literacy Hub with Ken Pugh. She is a neuroscientist who has been conducting research on learning and in particular reading and dyslexia; and on resilience over the past 17 years. Fumiko received research training at Harvard, UCLA, Caltech and Stanford, and has held faculty positions at Stanford, UCSF and UConn. Honors include awards from the International Dyslexia Association (IDA; 2014), Learning & the Brain Foundation (2015), Int’l Mind Brain & Education Society (IMBES; 2018), Society for Neuroscience (SfN; 2018), Northern CA Branch of the IDA (2018), and Eye to Eye (2019), with many of these on science education and translation of neuroscience to the public. She has published over 160 articles, reviews, and book chapters, and has delivered over 250 keynotes, talks and workshops at venues such as local schools, International conferences, TEDx and the White House. Her work has been widely covered in media such as The New York Times, NPR, CNN, the New Yorker, and Scientific American. She also serves on many boards at organizations such as the IDA, National Center for Learning Disabilities, and the Center for Childhood Creativity (CCC).

Dr. Nadine Gaab

Moving from a Reactive to a Proactive Model in Education: How a Multifactorial Framework of Reading Development Can Inform Educational Practice and Policy 

Learning trajectories are shaped by the dynamic interplay between nature and nurture, which starts in utero and continues throughout the lifespan. Learning differences are often not identified until childhood or adolescence, but diverging trajectories of brain development may be present as early as prenatally. Furthermore, children’s experiences and their interactions with the environment surrounding them have long-lasting influences on the brain development and future outcomes. This session will primarily focus on learning differences in reading acquisition and will present results from our longitudinal behavioral and neuroimaging studies that characterize differences in learning to read as a complex outcome of cumulative risk and protective factors interacting within and across genetic, neurobiological, cognitive, and environmental levels from infancy to adulthood. Results are discussed within an early multifactorial framework of learning differences with a special emphasis on screening, early identification, and preventive strategies. Finally, the implications of these findings for contemporary challenges in educational and clinical practice, as well as policy, are discussed.

Dr. Nadine Gaab Image

Biography: Dr. Nadine Gaab is an Associate Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Nadine’s work focuses on developmental cognitive neuroscience, particularly in language-based learning disabilities. Her research in the GaabLab ( examines the development of typical and atypical language and literacy skills in the pediatric brain and pre-markers of learning disabilities and the development of screening tools for screening literacy milestones and dyslexia.

She is the 2019 recipient of the LDA Award (Learning Disabilities Association America) for her work on learning disabilities. In 2018, Nadine was presented with the Allan C. Crocker Award for her advocacy on behalf of children with dyslexia and reading disabilities and efforts around the recent passage of the Massachusetts screening legislation (under the guidance of Decoding Dyslexia MA). She has also been recognized by the International Dyslexia Association in her receipt of the Norman Geschwind Memorial lecture 2020 and the Alice H. Garside Award for outstanding leadership in advancing the science and advocacy of dyslexia. She is an international speaker, frequently presenting to teachers on the brain science of typical and atypical literacy development.


Dr. Yaacov Petscher

Considerations and Guidelines for Choosing and Using Screeners 

This session will define and describe five core focal areas when choosing screeners: the population of interest, the scope of assessment, the reliability of scores, the validity of scores, and the classification accuracy of scores. Dr. Petscher will provide a better understanding of how these areas can empower decision making when using the National Center on Intensive Intervention’s academic screening tool chart. 

Dr. Yaacov Petscher Image

Biography: Dr. Yaacov Petscher is a Professor at Florida State University, Deputy Director of the National Center on Improving Literacy, and an Associate Director at the Florida Center for Reading Research. His research in screening and identification is focused on how to better leverage theory, quantitative methods, and technology to create better tools that are accurate in earlier identification.

Panel Discussion: Assessing Students for Reading Difficulties: One School District’s Experience with Universal Screening Assessment

  • Dr. Kelli D. Cummings, Associate Professor, Special Education, University of Maryland

  • Cortney Dvorak; Supervisor of Instruction - Elementary ELA, St. Mary's County Public School

  • Dr. Brian Gearin, Co-Lead of Dissemination, National Center on Improving Literacy

For more information on our symposium,
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